Beyond Tactics and Strategy
the coming organic transformation by the middle class
There’s a lot of talk about tactics and strategy for the upcoming 2024 elections: whether Trump is the right guy; whether Republicans should go full bore on vote-by-mail and ballot harvesting.
But I think that the current political moment has gone beyond that.
I think that what we are seeing is an organic movement in the ordinary middle class. No, it’s not a movement. It is deeper than that. A movement is a conscious thing, with leaders and followers and an agenda, and a belief system. What we are seeing in the ordinary middle class is something bubbling up out of the collective unconscious, if you don’t mind me getting all Jungian on you.
I thought this during 2020 when we saw the Trump Car Parades and the Trump Boat Parades. I thought to myself: this doesn’t feel like the work of professional political campaign workers.
Last weekend we saw Trump in a crowd scene at a frat house in Iowa. It just looked like something more than a scripted campaign stop.
Maybe the closest thing is Obama in 2008. For blacks this was an incandescent moment, something I imagine they never thought they would live to see. Of course, with the media and ruling-class hype, it was not really organic, but led and boosted by the ruling class. So that, when I lunched with my liberal friend a month after the election she was all enthused about the historic moment of the First Black President. Really, I though to myself? I voted for Obama, but not because he was black, but because we’d had two terms of Republican Bush, and now it was time for a change election. And if a racist-sexist-homophobe like me could vote for Obama, what’s all the fuss about?
In my view, the rise of the educated class five hundred years ago was not an organic movement, but a self-conscious attempt by literate middle-class people to rise up into the elite. Five hundred years later our educated elite is busy directing traffic with its words and control of the Narrative, and believes it was ordained to rule by Gaia.
But we know that top-down control is not a Good Thing. Not even in war, where the Germans after World War I reformed their military with a notion alled Auftragstaktik to push decision-making down as far as possible, to NCOs, and even to privates. In capitalism, of course, it is absolutely necessary to allow good ideas to float to the top, and even more important, to humble proud leaders that don’t like to admit their mistakes. In politics, of course, leaders can never admit mistakes, and that is why politics should be kept on a very short leash.
Put it this way. The Enlightenment was a conscious movement of the well-educated to raise their status. But the Industrial Revolution was an organic thing, of local yokels inventing new stuff without permission. New stuff that didn’t work just disappeared without a trace; new stuff that worked changed the world.
(Notice how Climate Change is a top-down movement that proposes to impose top-down solutions on the economy invented by high-status people. What could go wrong.)
So I am coming to believe that the world that is to come will come without a great heroic educated elite trumpeting its Encyclopédie or any organized middle-class army. It will be organic, erupting in surprising ways and utterly uncontrolled from the top. New politics, new culture, new ideas will erupt into consciousness, because they work.
In this view, the Trump election of 2016, that utterly stunned the educated elite with its impossibility, is merely a warm-up.
Victor David Hanson has a piece on the corrupting efforts of the educated class to warp the justice system and elections to maintain its power. I think that the efforts will fail, because the “rule of law” and clean elections are not a racist-sexist idea of white male patriarchs to dominate and maintain their oppression. They are tried and tested ways that we avoid civil war. If people believe they get a fair shake in the legal system and in the administration of elections, it makes them feel that they can live with the consequences. But when the ruling class games the system, all bets are off.
I don t think that the response of the ordinary middle class to the rulers’ gaming of the system will result in civil war. I think that the response will be “organic” and surprising and will amaze the world. I think it will change the world in the same way that the Industrial Revolution changed the world. Kinda like bankruptcy: slowly and then suddenly.